Jennifer Barclay

Job title: 
Director Of Undergraduate Studies
Theatre Performance
Academic Rank: 
Assistant Professor
2825 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Jennifer Barclay is an actor-turned-playwright, formerly based in Chicago and California, and so very happy to be here on faculty at UMD’s department of TDPS. Her plays include Housebound, Yellowstone: the ballad of the red-state white man, Ripe Frenzy, Danny, The Human Capacity, Plunder, Freedom, NY, The Attic Dwellers, Obscura, Red Helen, Eat It Too and The Exile of Petie DeLarge. Jennifer’s plays have been produced and developed by Steppenwolf, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, RedCat, The Kennedy Center, Center Stage, The International Theatre of Vienna and The Edinburgh Fringe. Awards include: Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, Pinter Review Gold Medal. Jennifer has been a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Hawthornden International Writers Retreat in Scotland. 

As an actor, Professor Barclay has performed in Austria, Scotland, Chicago, California and New York, and has toured her one-woman show, Clearing Hedges, nationally and internationally.

Professor Barclay is currently a member of the Playwrights' Arena at Arena Stage, she was a member of Center Stage’s inaugural Playwrights Collective 2015-16 season, and was the 2009-10 Shank Playwright in Residence at South Coast Rep. Her play, The Human Capacity, premiered at UMD’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, directed by Michael Dove. With TDPS Associate Professor Leslie Felbain, Jennifer developed her play, An Experiment, an interview-based dark comedy about gender parity that was commissioned by UMD’s Department of Physics. 

Currently, Professor Barclay is developing three new plays: Housebound, Yellowstone: the ballad of the red-state white man, Ripe Frenzy. Housebound is a play about domestic servitude human trafficking in the DC international community that has been developed through a highly-collaborative interview-based process that was funded by UMD TDPS, ARHU and Division of Research, through a Tier 1 Faculty Research Grant. Along with director Shana Cooper, Barclay workshopped Housebound at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co in DC in November, 2017. Yellowstone: the ballad of the red-state white man was a Finalist for the National New Play Network's Showcase of New Plays, and will have a reading at Moxie Theatre in San Diego as part of International Women's Voices Day in January, 2018. Professor Barclay has developed Ripe Frenzy in collaboration with TDPS Assistant Professor Jared Mezzocchi. Ripe Frenzy is the winner of the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theatre, it was a Finalist for Sundance and the O’Neill, it was developed at Woolly Mammoth and the 2017 Ojai Playwrights Conference, it was selected to be the play to pilot a new developmental partnership between NNPN and PlayPenn in December 2017, and it will premiere in 2018 at New Rep in Boston and Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta. 


B.S. in Theatre, Northwestern University, 1999; M.F.A. in Playwriting, University of California at San Diego, 2006.

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

Playwriting, Acting, Viewpoints, Contemporary Drama.

Professional Affiliations:

Current: Member of Arena Stage's Playwrights' Arena, Member of the Dramatists Guild. Former: Shank Playwright in Residence at South Coast Repertory, Member of Center Stage's Playwrights Collective.

Representative Productions:

Actor: Haymarket Eight at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Twelfth Night at Court Theatre, The Piano at Court Theatre, Blind Tasting at Live Bait, The Mousetrap at The International Theatre of Vienna, The Little Prince at Acadia Repertory Theatre, Guys and Dolls at Peninsula Players. Solo show Clearing Hedges at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The International Theatre of Vienna, San Francisco Fringe, Downstairs Cabaret Theatre and Mary-Arrchie. Playwright: Obscura at Red Tape Theatre Co., Freedom, NY at Teatro Vista, The Exile of Petie DeLarge at RedCat and Son of Semele, Emancipated at The Old Globe, Tight Curls Today at Collaboraction’s Sketchbook Festival, The Golden Ticket at Samuel French OOB Festival, F2F and Minus You at The Source, The Carpool at La Jolla Playhouse, Counterweight at La Jolla Playhouse.

Honors and Awards:

National New Play Network's Smith Prize for Political Theatre, MacDowell Colony Fellow, Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, Pinter Review, Final Draft Big Break, Northwestern University’s Mary Margaret Linn Award, Princess Grace finalist, three-time Heideman Award finalist, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts residency, Hawthornden Castle International Writer’s Retreat residency.